“Stay in your own lane. Comparison kills creativity and joy.”–Brené Brown.
We all do it.
In a dual world of better and worse, bigger and smaller, winners and losers, we all fall into this big, ugly, unconscious habit called comparing.
Let me clarify. When I say comparing, I’m not just talking about putting people on a pedestal (or tearing them down) for their gifts and accomplishments.
I’m more interested in how we dishonor ourselves when we size up, measure, or take sides. When we compare in this way, we separate and lose ourselves.
The quote by Brené Brown got me thinking of the countless people that I’ve put on a pedestal because… well… they were obviously “smarter,” “funnier,” “more popular,” “more humble,” or “skinner”…than me.
“They got to be on Oprah, become New York Times best-sellers, take their umpteenth book tour, juggle kids and work with effortless ease (yeah, right), had gazillion likes on Facebook, had more manageable hair and better looking legs…”
Yes, though rare now, I can still fall hard down the rabbit hole of feeling lesser than – especially when I’m feeling vulnerable. I’ve gone the other way plenty, too: placing myself high on that pedestal of gloating smugness. Ugh, just naming the truth of that feels awful.
So how do we unplug from the comparing machine that takes us away from our truth and our center?
I do it first by noticing when I compare, and then noticing how I feel when I compare. Whether it is me feeling small (or puffed up), noticing my mouth going dry, or experiencing a shame wave (or a gloating one) – the work is to stay with the sensations with as much compassionate awareness as I can until they pass. Lots of practice of “clearing” in this way has helped me move through many emotional squalls.
If you’re game, you can move through them too with the one-minute clearing practice below. The trick is to repeat the process until you’ve rewired the comparing pattern. You’ll know it’s gone when certain situations or people no longer elicit a charge.
Try it and let us know how it goes in the comment box. Let us break free from comparing once and for all!
Find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes.
Close your eyes…Take a nice, easy breath in, then a slow, emptying breath out. Breathe out all thought and tension and breathe in pure awareness and possibility.
Notice and allow all sensations to arise without judging them or doing anything to fix them.
When you feel centered, follow this simple process…
- Recall a time when you compared yourself to someone else. Perhaps it was a co-worker, a sibling, or that “perfect” somebody who appears to have it all [or you feel is beneath you].
- Ask yourself: what did this person have, do, or say that made me feel small and “less than” [“better than”].
- Observe: Notice where in your body you feel contracted, and allow any and all sensations of smallness [grandeur] to arise without taking them personally. Notice your breathing.
- Reflect: When you feel complete, take another deep breath and tune into a positive quality about this person. For example, it could be how they light up a room, give generously, or make people laugh.
- Ask your higher self: How does this person remind me of me? How is this person mirroring back to me an aspect, value, or deeper yearning that already lives in me (and I’ve been tamping down)?
- Take your time: Stay with the process for another minute or so. If nothing comes up, ask your higher self to deliver answers over the course of the day that you can easily recognize and process.
When you feel complete, open your eyes and notice how you’re feeling. Notice your breathing. Notice if you’re feeling differently now than when you started.
Next time you get lost and fall into the comparing trap, repeat the practice above.
And if this doesn’t do it for you, reach for Brené Brown’s terrific quote “Stay in your own lane!” to help you snap out of la-la land and back to your center.
p.s. If you found this message helpful, please forward it to someone else (or share, like, tweet, pin…) and let’s build the clearing energy together that will help to lighten all of our loads!